The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to end a three-game losing streak when they travel to Houston on Sunday to face the Texans. After starting the season 3-1, the Bucs have fallen to 3-4 straight-up and 4-3 against the spread. The Texans have dropped two of their last three games to fall to 3-4 on the season. The Texans are also 4-3 against the point spread. The Bucs vs Texans betting odds have Houston favored by 2.5 points (-120) and the total on the game is 40 points.
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Line: Houston -2.5 (-120)
Buccaneers Struggling to Move the Ball
One big reason for Tampa Bay’s slump is the offense’s lack of production. The Bucs have scored a combined 37 points in the last three games. The rushing game has been non-existent, with a high of 78 yards in that three-game stretch. It’s little wonder the Bucs have dropped all three games.
The team is averaging just 77.9 rushing yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry for the season. The passing game has been pretty average all season, gaining an average of 220.4 yards against teams allowing 219.9 yards. The Bucs are averaging 5.0 yards per play offensively, which is in the lower third of the league.
Tampa Bay’s defense hasn’t been bad at all, allowing 18.3 points to teams averaging 23.2 points. The Bucs have been a little better than average against the run, holding teams to 98.6 yards on the ground. Tampa Bay’s pass defense has allowed some yards. But the Bucs have done a great job at minimizing the damage, allowing a point for every 19.4 yards surrendered, which is the best in the NFL.
With a sputtering offense and a solid defense, the Bucs have gone just 1-6 in over under betting this season. The team’s 27-17 win over Chicago in Week 2 is the only game that has landed over the total.
Texans Playing Better Than Expected
At 3-4, the Texans are doing a bit better than most people thought considering they were going to be starting rookie CJ Stroud at quarterback. Houston is averaging 21.1 points offensively despite getting little contributions from the running game. The Texans are averaging 3.3 yards per rush and running for 91.9 yards per game.
Stroud and the passing game are averaging 238.6 yards per game and 7.0 yards per pass attempt. The team’s 330.4 total yards per game is consistent with the 327.4 yards allowed by the opposition. After the offensive struggles of the past few seasons, anything resembling an average offense is an improvement for Houston.
The Texans have been decent on defense, holding teams to 2.8 fewer points than the average. Much like Tampa Bay, Houston has been decent against the run and is allowing a bit of yardage through the air. The Texans are tied for No. 3 in defensive yards per point allowed, so they’re also doing a good job of making teams work for each point.
What to Expect
This is one of those games on the NFL schedule where both teams have similar strengths and weaknesses. Both teams struggle to run the ball but are fair in the passing game. And both teams are better at defending the run than the pass. The two squads have been opportunistic this season, with the Bucs +8 in turnovers and Houston +5.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see both teams throwing more than normal on Sunday. The Bucs are throwing 35.3 times per game and rushing 24.3 times, but they’ll struggle to move the ball on the ground against Houston. Baker Mayfield still has some mobility and is decent in the short passing game. The Bucs should take advantage.
Houston’s running game isn’t any better than Tampa Bay’s. The Texans rush 28 times and throw 34, but you have to think Houston will throw closer to 40 times in this one.
Who to Bet On?
The Bucs vs Texans betting odds of Houston -2.5 (-120) show the sportsbook doesn’t want to move the game to Texans -3, thinking there could be a fair number of Tampa Bay bets. The latest NFL lines have several similar games on this week’s schedule involving 2.5 or 3 points. It makes sense in this one, as Houston looks to be the better team. But the Texans are 0-2 as a favorite this season.
The Bucs vs Texans betting odds on the total are a bit tricky. You have two definite under-teams who play solid defense and don’t score a lot. But the total still came out at 40, which appears to be on the high side. But games involving two teams who have gone under the total in their last four games have shown a slight over tendency over the years.
It’s a little bit easier to make a case for the Texans in this game, so will take Houston and lay the 2.5 points.